A matter of trust?
Personally I’m getting sick to the back teeth of people going after the League. It’s one thing when the Countryside Alliance and BASC have a pop at us, that’s expected. But when it keeps coming from people who claim to support us, it’s really frustrating. And it takes a great deal of my time to respond, time which would be better spent on investigations.
A couple of discontented people are saying they need to save the League. Save us from what? From where I’m sitting, we’re stronger and more effective than we’ve been for a long time. We are far better resourced, we have prosecution cases being prepared for the police and we have even brought in a contract investigator to increase our coverage. We’ve had plenty of reports of cub hunting coming in over the last couple of months, and some of those hunts are going to get a nasty shock. We’ve got a new hunt season about to start, and we’re getting ready for that. The amount of intelligence we’re getting from the public is going up exponentially. Trust me when I say we know exactly what the hunts are doing, and where they are doing it. We know they’re getting worried too, more than they’ve been for a long time.
The team I work with has changed a bit over the last few months – we’ve got Martin Sims as our Director of Investigations. He used to be Head of the police National Wildlife Crime Unit. There aren’t many around who know more about catching and prosecuting wildlife criminals than him, and his experience is going to be invaluable. We’ve also got an intelligence team who are ex-police and frighteningly good. These are the guys who analyse any reports we get into Crimewatch so we can identify who to go after. If I was a hunter, I’d be very worried.
From my point of view, we’re in a really strong position. And I’m at the sharp end of what we do. I’d be lying if I said life at the League is always rosy – it’s not, but it never is, wherever you work. During the tenure of the previous CEO and board members like Chris Williamson, me and my team faced possible redundancy, and the support shown to us by our supporters was touching; we cannot do what we do without your support and trust.
There have been changes here, and on the board. But the most beneficial change has been the recruitment of Andy Knott, our CEO, who has been leading us for nearly a year. Some are saying he’s an ‘infiltrator’ because he used to be in the army. I can’t swear in this article, but trust me, that’s rubbish. The man is the most experienced manager I’ve seen in my time at the League, and he’s doing what needs to be done. And he is demonstrably 100% behind League staff, in the office and also out in the field taking part in investigations with us. That’s a first for a CEO in my time.
We needed to make changes. There’s been too much going on behind the scenes which has got in the way of us doing what we need to do. What I see happening now is someone not afraid to sweep away all the rubbish that’s been going on so we can get back to focussing on what we all want to be doing; protecting the animals, strengthening the laws that protect them and going after those who abuse them.
My job depends on our supporters, and it’s the responsibility of our management to make sure they spend your money wisely. I see someone in charge doing exactly that. We are well aware that it is our supporters’ hard-earned money that enables us to carry on.
To stop the hunters, shooters and other animal abusers, we need to keep adapting. We need to catch them in the act, and we need the people who can bring about changes in the law to know about it. That includes police and politicians of all political persuasions. We need them to trust that we are acting legally and that the information we give them is factual. When it comes to achieving what we want, we need to work with all the right people. That’s what we’re doing. I’m a thirty-years’ service ex-cop and have a vast amount of experience as to how the system works.
I guess some people don’t like change. Some of our supporters maybe don’t like the fact that we’ve got an ex-army officer as CEO. But that’s just prejudice, it’s not based on fact. Trust me, if Andy was trying to weaken the League in any way, I wouldn’t be writing this. And if I had any concerns that he was, I would be letting people know.
All I’m saying is, think carefully before believing people on the outside who claim to know what the League wants. Some of these people probably have their own reasons for what they are doing - which have nothing to do with trying to stop animals from being hurt and killed.
All I want to do is stop the people who take part in cruel sports. I work for a charity which is 100% committed to doing that. We’ve got some of the best of the best working here. What we’ve achieved even in the last year shows that any suggestion we ‘need saving’ is complete rubbish.
I’ve had my neck broken by hunters, but they won’t stop me and they won’t stop my colleagues. Please don’t let a few people who either have their own agenda or don’t like progress stop you from supporting us.
At the end of the day, who are you going to trust? The ridiculous headlines that have been proven time and again to be false? Or people like me and my colleagues who will not stop until we have ended the abuse and killing of animals in the name of sport?
Darryl Cunnington - Head of Field Operations at the League Against Cruel Sports
I trust the League
- League Supporter
Well said, Darryl. You and your fellow investigators are the heart of the League and if you are happy with the administration of the League,
so am I.
- League Supporter